Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Mustard & Gravy

I am beginning to think that I need to be treated, or counselled, over my O.B.E. Not the gong in its velvet box that Her Majesty is doubtless buffing-up as I write, but Old Brand Excess. This morning the post lady knocked on the door and handed me my latest e-bay purchase. Although wrapped in an old bin bag held together with parcel tape, it was unmistakably jug shaped. 'Guess what this is then?' I said, holding it up. 'Looks like a jug to me' she replied, 'But then I don't suppose it's that simple'. How right she was. I had bid for, and obviously won because who else would want it, a big green metal oil pourer with 'Agricastrol Tractor Oil' on it. It's rusty, and the logo's virtually worn off on one side. I think it's beautiful, but as I'm too embarrassed to show it here I demonstrate the point I'm struggling to make by showing you my Sunday lunch table. There's the Hook Norton jug, full of gravy, and my Colman's Mustard jar with the lid broken when I sent it flying across the kitchen when I burnt my hand on the Le Creuset griddle. There I go again. Couldn't just say 'frying pan'. Anyway, there we are. Tomorrow I'm going to buy a big bunch of yellow flowers to stick in the Castrol jug, so that to the casual observer there appears to be at least some vestige of reason to it all.


Fred Fibonacci said...

Peter, don't be shy. I'm sure I speak for many, if not all, of your readers when I say publish and be damned. Let's see the jug. After all, we're now intimate with your broken Colman's lid and perspex salt and pepper pots. And a large glass of red getting into shot too. Was it a side of beef, with all the trimmings? I do hope so.

I'll bet the Agricastrol jug spent its life in a hard-working barn, nestling in a little oily corner on some straw, with big, tractor sized spanners leaning up against the wall and hens pecking around in the shafts of late afternoon sunlight that shot through the gaps in the wall. The doors open, the farmer backs his tractor into the barn and pulls the 'STOP' knob under the steering wheel. The Fergie shakes itself to sleep, our man steps down, pulls out the dipstick and; bugger, another quart! He reaches for the jug. If only, he thinks, I lived in an age when you could sell a jug like this on some sort of global auction site that worked like the telegraph system. I might raise enough money to buy a tractor that doesn't drink quite so much sodding oil.

Peter Ashley said...

Perhaps it's not just me after all. Another comment like that and I'll be forced to get my jugs out.

Anonymous said...

I was so keen to see it, I went to completed items on ebay, and found it. Sorry. Hope I haven't spoiled your fun. Yes..I can just see a bunch of flowers in it. Please publish it here Peter.

Peter Ashley said...

Hmm, Fengirl eh? Perhaps we'd better modify our comments in case she's a novice shivering in a reed-bound priory. By the look of her portrait this could well be the case.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Come on, Peter, let's have a dose of Castrol oil. Just what the doctor ordered.

Peter Ashley said...

Sorry Justin, I didn't give you 'that lunch in full'. It was a very nice bit of pig from Nelsons in Uppingham, with 'Charlotte' potatoes from Cornwall and Savoy cabbage. Lots of Ashby-de-la-Zouch gravy (don't ask because it makes me break out in song). The wine was a scrummy claret some kind soul left at a recent birthday party. Does anyone have a really good, easy way of making Yorkshire Puddings that doesn't entail me hurling them out into the garden?

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